When has this misguided notion that we can have 1 base A/C be all things to all branches EVER worked out?
The F-14 was a great A/C. For the Navy. The F-15 is one of the best ever, but would be useless as a carrier based A/C.
Anyone around fro all the fun and games that was involved in the F/A-18A rollout, and what was required for that to become a useful platform?
This flawed paradigm is why the A-6 was around for so long, they couldn't field a suitable replacement.
I expect that by the time the F-35 is out and working for everyone, it will cost the same as 3 well run, more narrowly scoped projects.